What is the best camera, LED panel, microphone for shooting talking portraits? Narrowing it down to just one camera or mic is near impossible but we do have a few options for you. Please remember that you do not have to use any of the equipment we suggest here, but there's a darned good reason why we recommend these tools.
Please note that we do not receive payment in any form for our recommendations. That's not our style.
cameras + lenses
The Lumix GH4 has been a tried and true mirrorless camera that is affordable, easy to learn, very easy to use and it produces great quality photo and video files quickly. This is a Micro43 size sensor which is small - but that's a plus for shooting hybrid. when you shoot at f4.0 for instance, you will see twice the depth of field as compared to a larger sensor camera using the same lens. If you have never shot a camera like this, it will take some getting used to but we find it to bew a speedy workhorse for Talking Portraits.
As for lenses, you may prefer zooms over primes but you will quickly see that excellent quality lenses are very affordable.
The Lumix GH5 is another good choice but the Gh4 does everything we need it to and it's a few less bux. If you are in a budget crunch, take a look at a used Lumix GH3? They were terrific cameras and a lightly used one will cost only $400.
Coach Will uses GH4's and likes the Lumix 42.5mm f1.7 lens for shooting one or two people, then he switches over to the Lumix 12-35mm f 2.8 zoom for wider coverage in tight spaces. Coach Barry shoots GH5 and GH4 and likes the 12-35mm zoom for this type of work.
Talking portraits need good, clear, clean audio. We feed the audio into the camera for recording because it's faster to move the files when the audio and video are one. Please don't use an external audio recorder to capture your audio? We require all audio files to be embedded in-sync with the video it's paired with.
The best way to get great audio quickly is by using a shotgun mic and an external audio amp / mixer, then connect them both to your camera's audio input. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's the smart way to go and it's super easy once you get it setup and buy the correct cables.
Our recommended mics:
- Top Pick: Sennheiser MKE 600. $329. Score: 9/10
- Bestest: Sennheiser MKH 416. $949. Score: 10/10
- Budget Pick: Rode NTG2 600. $244. Score: 8/10
To power the shotgun mics we like to use, you are best to use some sort of mixer with a built in amp/preAmp. We've found that the on-board AA battery in the microphones is not a good solution for talking portrait sessions. Mixers provide all the power and give you a higher quality audio track. Look for a mixer that mounts under your camera or on one of the tripod legs - just make sure it's mounted on your camera+tripod instead of on the floor. The mixer in the photo is not one of our recommended units, instead please choose one of these:
Our recommended audio mixers:
Top Pick: BeachTek DXA MicroPro+. $299. Score: 8/10
Good: BeachTek DXA SLR Ultra. $289. Score: 8/10
Budget Pick: Saramonic AX 107. $179. Score: 6/10